One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is involvement in projects that take music and movement to sectors of the community who might not otherwise have that access. As well as co-leading the ENB’s Dance for Parkinson’s programme, I’ve joined forces with a number of dance artists to create live music sessions in hospitals and homes around the area. In 2017 I started a project at Witney Community Hospital with the arts development officer, Angela Conlan, and together we visit the wards and day room to bring some song and dance into the daily routine.
In 2016, dancer Rhonda Sparrey and I were among 12 practitioners accepted on to the FLOURISH programme to encourage the use of arts among people with dementia. We led a course of eight Dance for Dementia workshops at the Christchurch Centre in Henley, featuring themes such as A Night At The Theatre and A Day At The Seaside. Here’s a short film about our work, which gives some idea of the extraordinary power of music to revive and reconnect.
For 2019 I’m working with dance artist Roosa Leimu-Brown, who co-leads the ENB programme in Oxford, on a series of Dance to Health workshops run by the University of Reading and drawing on the collection held in its Museum of English Rural Life. We’ll be working on the theme of rural life, past, present and future, and will showcase the class in May as part of National Dementia Week.